The dispute between students and authorities at Jadavpur University in Kolkata has reached an impasse with the police forcibly ending a gherao and arresting 35 students from the campus. The protests followed an incident that took place late in October. A girl from the humanities faculty of the college was reportedly dragged to the boys' hostel on the campus after a fest and was allegedly molested by ten men.
The girl lodged a complaint with the university authorities, but no arrests were made and no action was taken, sparking off the protests which kicked off early this month.
According to latest reports, university students are planning protest against police brutality at 4.00pm in Jadavpur University.
On Tuesday evening, the students gheraoed the vice-chancellor of the university along with the registrar, demanding a fresh probe into the incident and action against the perpetrators. The gherao continued late into the night, agencies report, following which the police had to lathicharge the students to disperse them. The Kolkata Police also arrested 35 students and the baton charging left another thirty injured.
Social media has gone berserk condemning the incident and are alleging that not only were the students baton charged by the police, Trinamool Congress goons had joined cops in attacking the protesters.
Some of the students have managed to shoot videos on smartphones and have shared them on Facebook while trying to show that TMC goons were involved with the police in the assault against them.
Soon after the gherao was lifted, the students gheraoed the nearby Jadavpur Police station demanding the release of their classmates. Agencies reported that, "tension ran high in the campus and surrounding S C Mallick Road area, as the students assembled in large numbers before the police station, disrupting traffic". The police headquarters issued a statement saying the students had been given a deadline till 10.30 am to lift the blockade.
On Tuesday night, the students had gheraoed VC Souvik Bhattacharya and registrar Pradip Ghosh. They are also demanding the unconditional resignation of the VC.
As usual, the Mamata Banerjee government has pleaded helplessness. Education minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters, "If the agitating students want, they can also talk to the government."
Meanwhile, the student's bodies are trying their their best to get the authorities to address their issues. One of the videos being shared show the students struggling with the police while shouting slogans incessantly. They are shown forming a human chain in front of Aurobindo Bhavan, one of the several buildings of the university, as the police try to force their way in. Posters asking, "Why have no prima facie arrests been not made" are seen adorning the walls of the building.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, some of the students alleged that the policemen even beat up female students in an attempt to break the protests up.
The students have also started a Facebook campaign. A page called Students Against Campus Violence on Facebook, which was started in March, is being used to post updates on the protest. One of the updates posted five hours back says, "Please proceed to KPC with funds to help those who have been hospitalized. Do not attempt to cross the police or the RAF, it will lead to yet more injuries and violence. Please help those already injured."
Another update reads: "Female students are being attacked by the police (male and female police), their dresses being torn off, being dragged by the hair. There are torn off shoes, pieces of clothing, broken flowerpots everywhere. The students are SEVERELY injured."
College and university campuses are no stranger to violence. Political intervention had been the order of the day under the old CPI(M) regime and from the looks of it, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is headed the same way.
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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2014 16:34:20 IST